Just this past weekend AOPA members descended upon Omarama, (just 20 nm from Flyinn’s base at Geordie Hill) for the Annual Winter Fly-in. Despite our proximity, it was only the second time Matt and I had joined this weekend, and we were in for a treat. As well as the chance to catch up on other kiwi aviators, we had two great days of flying to areas and strips we don’t generally visit.
A stationary high- pressure system on the weather map meant those planning to fly from all corners of New Zealand were able to, and around 75 aircraft and 180 members attended. Such weather in the central south island caused -10’C frosts, (which meant the first lessons were about cold starting), with the reward being beautiful still, clear days.
Detailed maps were provided, and after a general briefing it was up to each of us to join a group with an experienced leader, or form our own plans, making sure we keep organisers informed. The weather briefing for both days was similar – there was no weather! Groups of aircraft dispersed in every direction, with loads of airstrips and airfields being visited within a 150 nm radius. Matt was keen for me to do the flying, so I had my own experienced guide. What’s more I am now nearly confident enough to follow almost all his instructions! (and I get the help I need when I don’t).
We joined a group visiting farm strips close to Omarama and the Lindis (yes, in our very back yard there are many places we’d not landed). We then joined Sue Telford (whom many guests will know, as a Flyinn Guide pilot), her husband, Gerald, and daughter Mel. and flew the Flyinn 172’s, WAX and TRS, further north and into the back country . This was also a treat, as while we all work together an outing like this is not something we’ve managed before.
From a different perspective: it was interesting to be joining in such fun, and not be the organiser. Understanding what is involved, we could appreciate this weekend all the more. The flying certainly increased my skills as I practiced precision approaches and landings. Perhaps this is a glimpse of how it can feel to be a Flyinn guest pilot? It was exhilarating, interesting and great fun. Also tiring – but in a good way. Each evening I was definitely ready to relax, enjoy a glass of wine and delicious dinner, and share stories from the day, or of life, or travels or anything else in between.
I came home feeling more aware and with a new level of confidence in my flying. Also refreshed from the fun, the sights and the warm friendliness of the whole weekend. I definitely want to do it again. Perhaps this is also an insight into how guests might feel when they complete their time with Flyinn ?